Ermant (Egypte): Amenhotep III head unearthed

Nevine El-Aref

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General view of the temple of Montu-Re at Armant. Photos CNRS-CFEETK/Christophe Thiers

A new discovery has been made at Armant Temple, 25 kilometres south of Luxor.

A mission from the French Institute for Oriental Studies (IFAO) unearthed a limestone head of the 18th dynasty king Amenhotep III, grandfather of king Tutankhamen.

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh El-Damaty told Ahram Online that the head was accidentally found during restoration and consolidation works carried out at the temple's foundations.

Aly El-Asfar, head of the Central Administration of Upper Egypt, told Ahram Online that the head is carved in sandstone and in very bad condition. The face is totally damaged but a part of the crown still exists. The head is now under restoration at the gallery of the IFAO in Luxor.

He continued that last year the mission unearthed five heads of royal priests within the temple. The heads are carved in limestone and each one has the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt on top. Each head is 50 centimetres high and could date back to the Middle Kingdom.

Armant temple was dedicated to worshipping the falcon-headed god of war Montu. It was originally built during the Old Kingdom but it was reused during the Ptolemaic period, although decorations and additions continued to be added centuries later by the Romans. Because of Montu's strong association with raging bulls, the temple was a major centre for the worship for bulls, containing many statues and reliefs of the animal. Most of these statues are now located in museums around the world.

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The five heads of priest Photo CNRS-CFEETK/Christophe Thiers